Chesterton Tribune

Calumet Regional Archives a treasure trove of Region history

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Maps of the shore of Lake Michigan from the early 1800s, minutes of the Save the Dunes Council from 1952-1966, Arthur Anderson photographs and original South Shore posters are just a few of the things visitors can see at the Calumet Regional Archives located at Indiana University Northwest in Gary.

Stephen G. McShane, archivist/curator, talked about his work at the Duneland Historical Society meeting on February 17 at the Library Service Center. He invites individuals to visit the Archives, located on the third floor of the IUN Library at 35th and Broadway in Gary, but suggests they call ahead to 219-980-6628.

He gave a slide show tour which began with a picture of office furniture which had been used by former Congressman Ray Madden. In addition to slides showing maps, minutes of meetings and photographs, he showed pictures of old official record books, correspondence, programs including early DunesPageants, flyers, promotional pamphlets such as “Gary Welcomes You!”, newsletters from Gary Works, and community newsletters.

The Archives also have negatives from the Post Tribune starting in 1953 and Congressman Adam Benjamin’s papers. A recent acquisition is a collection from Inland Steel.

In describing his work of organizing and preserving the collections, he had advice for anyone preserving historical items. He does not recommend laminating items. He showed a slide of an old map of Ogden Dunes which has been encapsulated and can be retrieved. He also says no to all kinds of fasteners: paper clips, rubber bands, string, staples, etc.

The Archives collections are stored in boxes on shelves in a consistent temperature of 68 degrees with humidity control. McShane is co-author with Ronald D. Cohen of “Moonlight in Duneland, The Illustrated Story of the Chicago, South Shore and South Bend Railroad” which is now in paperback.

The Duneland Historical Society will meet on March 17 at 7:30 at the Library Service Center. The program will be presented by Mayor Leigh Morris of LaPorte who will tell of “The History of the Rumely Company.” The company developed the oil pull tractor, a farm machine that had a significant impacton the farming industry at the turn of the last century.


Posted 2/21/2005